Since the initial implementation of the wireless network, Information Services & Technology has been committed to providing secure wireless access to CSU Students, Faculty, and Staff by utilizing current, industry standard, encryption methods while ensuring compatibility with the widest range of client devices and operating systems.
When the network was first implemented, only clients using Cisco Aironet 350 wireless cards were able to connect to wireless. Since then, as industry standards were improved, IS&T upgraded their equipment to meet the needs of as many users as possible. To continue with this commitment, wireless has been upgraded to encrypt data using Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is the new security standard adopted by the Wi-Fi Alliance consortium and is the type of security used in CSU's wireless network. It follows the Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11 security system. It is more advanced than the WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) system, which is an older model and has issues involving user security. WPA uses several layers of encryption, combined with authentication protocols, including PEAP and EAP-FAST. PEAP (Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol) and EAP-FAST (Flexible Authentication via Secure Tunneling) systems both use an authentication process that involves a dedicated server to authenticate with your laptop. With WPA, there is much more security present, so you can be sure that you will be protected while using wireless.
What do the letters after 802.11 mean? Each letter denotes a different protocol relating to the coverage of the individual radios of the devices. The CSU network uses the ‘a’, ‘b’, and ‘g’ protocols. Most laptops with wireless adapters are able to utilize these protocols. You can check your laptop’s network card documentation to be absolutely sure.
WPA delivers a level of security way beyond anything that WEP can offer, bridges the gap between WEP and 802.11i (aka WPA2) networks, and has the advantage that the firmware in older equipment may be upgradeable for future needs.